Contributed by Jim Hayes
The furor around Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s “lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria and Palestine) ANZAC Day Facebook post, is based on empty air. She did not insult Australian who have seen military service
ANZAC Day is about war. Refugees are mostly the product of war and the suffering in Syria. The suffering of Palestinians is also the product of war. Surely, ANZAC Day is supposed to help us remember that military conflict, whether it is in a just cause or not, causes a great deal of pain and loss. ANZAC Day should therefore promote that everything should be done to resolve differences through peaceful means.
The counter to this is that a war is a glorious experience and that ANZAC Day is meant to promote that our freedom depends on war. Hence the myth that the diggers who participated in war have been and continue to be the guardians of our rights.
This untruth belies the reality that what we have achieved, over the years, is the result of the efforts of the whole population and often against from the most privileged. It till goes on. Saying this does not diminish the significance of the Diggers, but puts it in its proper perspective.
When Attorney General Brandis and other government spokespeople come out and publicly denounce Yassmin Abdel-Magied and the usual Murdoch media outlets, accompanied by the band of followers come out to do the same, demanding her head on a platter, the level of hypocrisy has hit the stratosphere.
Nationals MP George Christensen went further and tweeted, “Yasmin should no longer on the public broadcaster’s tax-funded payroll. Self-deportation should also be considered.”
Peter Dutton thundered, “It is a disgrace that on our most significant national day to mark the passing of people who have defended this country, this advocate seeks to make political mileage.” Really? As if this is not exactly what Dutton is doing.
By and large, these are the people who only a month ago were demanding that Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that refers to the “offend, insult and humiliate” should go, because free speech means that people should have the right to do these things.
It seems that their free speech is confined to only their narrow view of the world and denying it to others, is the way to ensure its dominance.
Add to this an attempt to turn ANZAC Day into something very different to what it should be, a vehicle for their sabre rattling narrowness. Even if you accept the myth that all the wars have been about protecting Australian freedom, surely then, ANZAC Day is about protecting the right to have your say. Those who want Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s head are violating this too.